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5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

Cooking can be a very daunting task, especially when faced with countless pans, utensils, and devices you’ve never heard of, as well as advanced cooking phrases and jargon. There are some who left all the cooking to their mothers or fathers, and never learned how to do it on their own. Others are born with the talent and taste, but are too lazy to develop their skills.

Then there are those who are intimidated when they see one single unknown ingredient, which leads them to throw in the towel when it comes to cooking and leave the rest up to the chefs and cooking masters to feed them decently healthy foods every weekend. This kind of habit can literally break the bank! We are living in an era of fast food and quick microwavable meals, so why bother learning to cook?

Our body needs certain nutrients in order to function properly. Yes, nutrients come from food, but that doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want. Countless studies, privately or publicly posted, have proved that eating to your heart’s desire, especially microwavable and fast foods, is a huge health risk. Obesity rates are skyrocketing every single year.

Imagine: three out of 10 children ages four to 19 are gaining an extra 6 pounds a year! The regular intake of quickie foods is the main culprit, and apparently, it ups the chances of getting other serious conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart attacks — these are conditions you want to prevent your loved ones from developing.

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Fortunately enough, we’re also living in an era of agricultural mastery and nutritional science. It’s easy to take the quick route and throw a TV dinner in the microwave, but making a nutritious meal may actually be a lot easier than some of us think. So here are five easy tips to help keep the whole family healthy without spending all day in the kitchen or breaking the bank.

1. Take a second look at the costs of healthier options.

One common misconception is that eating healthy is just too expensive. We look at the bell peppers in the produce aisle and see frozen, pre-cooked, fatty meals two isles away at a better bargain. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be as expensive as it seems.

For example, a stir fry consisting of brown rice, frozen veggies and the sauce of your choice can feed a person for as little as 30 cents a meal. Black bean burritos with lettuce are inexpensive as well. Making your own from scratch (aside from the tortillas themselves) takes no longer than 10 minutes and can feed a family of five for $3.

Both of these meal ideas give ample protein and veggie intake in just one meal and cost next to nothing. There are other cheap, healthy meal ideas to be found all over the web. These are just a start.

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2. Cooking doesn’t have to take all day.

Another misconception about eating healthy is that we just don’t have the time to make healthy meals in our busy lives. Just like the meal ideas in the above tip, cooking doesn’t have to be a big chore.

A breakfast burrito consisting of a scrambled eggs fried together with a handful of spinach and black beans tossed in a tortilla takes as little as five minutes. For those who aren’t fond of yolk, the same recipe can be made by only using egg whites and adding an extra egg.

There are tons of healthy meals that take only minutes to make. Beans of any sort, spinach, potatoes, eggs, frozen veggies and low-fat yogurt are among the many staples of those with busy lives who appreciate a quick homemade meal. Get creative!

3. Foods aren’t better from a can.

You may have noticed I’m a pretty big fan of frozen veggies, the reason being that fresh veggies can be hard on the wallet, while canned veggies can be hard on the body. Simply put, canned veggies are not our friends. While still retaining some of their nutrients, the canning process has been known to take away from their overall nutritional value. It also can’t hurt to stay away from pumping our bodies full of preservatives.

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Frozen veggies have the nutritional value of fresh veggies without the steep price. This goes for most everything, not just veggies. When buying meat, the frozen variety is always a good choice. While still healthy, you’ll rarely find yourself throwing away rotten meat or eating preservatives from a can.

4. Calories aren’t all bad.

Calories have gotten a pretty bad rap today. Yeah, we all go gaga about “protein shakes are healthier” or “gm diet plan works better than intermittent fasting” while ignoring the fact that our bodies simply need calories to function. There is definitely such thing as too little calories. You can’t be healthy and underfed; it just doesn’t work. Everyone’s recommended calorie intake is different and varies based on weight, age, gender, and activity level.

calorie-intake

    Luckily, anyone with a computer and internet connection has access to a variety of different calorie calculators on the web. Sites like Calorie Counter and Calorie King make it easy to know just how many we should be eating. For those trying to lose or put on weight, these calorie calculators as well as other high-tech fitness trackers are motivational and perfect for helping reach your weight goals.

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    5. Trick your brain.

    A somewhat well-known method of making yourself feel fuller faster is to drink water both before and during a meal. This stops us from overeating as our brains often confuse hunger and thirst. However, according to a recent study, this isn’t the only way to keep from overeating.

    Recent research shows that eating more flavorful food tricks our brains into thinking we’ve eaten more than we really have. However, this doesn’t mean we should douse everything we eat in salt. There are many non-sodium-based spices that can add more flavor to our food without adding any unhealthy ingredients. Making use of these can make sure everyone in the family eats the right amount of food in each sitting.

    And that’s it! Many people underestimate how important the food we eat really is. Putting these tips into place can change your family’s eating habits for the better and even change your child’s future tremendously. While there are more things to learn, these tips should act as a great starting point for anyone looking to make significant healthy changes to their life.

    Featured photo credit: FamVeld via shutterstock.com

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    Junie Rutkevich

    Lifestyle writer and author of "Healthy Eating Habits: A Get-Healthy Guide To Tweak And Balance Your Daily Diet"

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

    1. The Inner Critic

    This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

    The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

    Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

    2. The Worrier

    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

    The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

    This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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    This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

    The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

    4. The Sleep Depriver

    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

    The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

    How can you control these squatters?

    How to Master Your Mind

    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

    For the Inner Critic

    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

    • They rile up the Worrier.
    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
    • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
    • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
    • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

    Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

    For the Worrier

    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tense

    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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    For example:

    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tension

    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

    Breathe in through your nose:

    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
    • Focus on your belly rising.

    Breathe out through your nose:

    • Feel your lungs emptying.
    • Focus on your belly falling.
    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

    For the Sleep Depriver

    (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
    • Shut down your thinking.
    • Calm your feelings.
    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

    The Bottom Line

    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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